Categories
Tools & Resources

Church Website Design Tools: 3 Cool Finds

Church website design and content creation is made so much easier with the right tools.

It’s been awhile since a post was published here pointing to some cool and useful church website design tools. Well, the last couple weeks I’ve come across a few services I’ve added to my own toolbox. What I love most about these tools is:

  • they’re made with non-techy, non-designer peeps in mind, and
  • they offer creative techs a quick, easy option for squaring away design tasks.

I hope my new cool finds help make your church website design and content creation work easier and a lot more fun!

Church Website Design + Content Creation Tools

Get Web Font Information

WhatFont Tool

While doing some research online last week, I ran across a couple great looking blogs. The designer’s font choices were fantastic! I just had to know what fonts they were using.

Now, I’m a huge fan of Web Fonts. So, I was excited to find a cool tool that makes fast and easy work of chasing them down.

WhatFont Tool in action
WhatFont Tool in action

The WhatFont Tool (in no way affiliated with MyFonts or WhatTheFont) enables you to quickly and easily find out what fonts are being used in a Web page.

Once installed, in literally one click you’ll get the font’s information. Web Font service detection is also available. And, you can share your favorite discoveries on Twitter.

The tool is available as a Bookmarklet (which I tested in Firefox). Chrome and Safari extensions are also available. At the time of this writing, Adobe Typekit and Google Font API Web Font services were supported.

When I tested the tool on a Web page where Web Fonts weren’t present, the tool simply didn’t activate.

Convert HTML to WordPress INSTANTLY

Theme Matcher

So here’s the problem: your church has a static website. You want to add a blog to it to increase traffic and engage your visitors.

Naturally, you want to use WordPress to manage it. But, you have neither the desire nor the budget to completely redesign your website in WordPress. On top of that, there aren’t any WordPress themes that even come close to matching your current static site.

Your only option is to settle for adding a blog that looks completely different from your main website, right? Wrong!

In three easy steps, Theme Matcher will take your static website and automatically generate a WordPress theme that matches your existing church website design.

[content_box title=”Watch Theme Matcher in action!” align=”center”][tvideo type=”youtube” clip_id=”8zRk71K2SUY” width=”632″ autoplay=”false” controls=”false” fs=”true” rel=”false” modestbranding=”false”] [/content_box]

The target users for this service are:

  • Non-technical webmasters wanting to add a WordPress blog to an existing site
  • WordPress developers looking to save time and get a head-start on client projects
  • Designers who create HTML templates, and want to fast-track creating WordPress themes from them
  • Freelancers migrating websites from another system to WordPress

There’s no cost to use the service to generate a theme. You’ll pay only when you’re ready to download the theme you generated. Here are your options:

Theme Matcher Pricing Options for Church Website Design
Theme Matcher Pricing Options

One thing to note: in a perfect world, all automatic HTML-to-Wordpress conversions would be absolutely perfect and require no additional revisions. But, since we don’t live in a perfect world, how well a website converts depends in large part on how well the existing site’s HTML code is written.

Theme Matcher doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility when it comes to selecting content and optional sidebar regions for conversion. So, the better the code in the existing site, the fewer the tweaks in the new theme.

On several websites I tested, the service worked brilliantly. On others, where the code was poorly written, I was able to generate a good working theme. But, a bit of CSS editing would have been in order.

Amazingly Simple Graphic Design

Canva

The fun starts when you sign up! A 23-second tutorial shows you how to use the service. And, it’s insanely simple!

After that, you can take the Starter Challenges (there are five of them to get you warmed up). Or, you can jump right in and begin creating your first masterpiece.

Even if you think you’re not creative, you’ll have one whiz-bang of a time with this tool! You can create graphics for podcasts, Twitter and social media, presentations, posters, Facebook covers, blog post graphics…the list goes on.

Start with a design template and edit, or roll your own from scratch with an image or colored background and text. When you’re all done, you can share it on Twitter or Facebook, download it, or send a link.

Many elements are free to use. Premium images are $1 each or you can upload your own.

[tvideo type=”youtube” clip_id=”XqYti78riU8″ width=”632″ autoplay=”false” controls=”false” disablekb=”false” fs=”true” loop=”false” rel=”false” showinfo=”false” modestbranding=”false”]

For me, the most difficult part of using this tool was choosing from among all the options. Gracious! With more than 1 million images  and more than 100 fonts, you could really go buggy mixing and matching (perfectionists, you’ve been warned!).

Got any cool church website design tools in your toolbox?

Tell me about them. Share a link in the comments below!

Image Credit: Florian Richter | Flickr cc

Categories
Web Design

7 Simple Web Design Tips for a User-Friendly Church Website

Creating a satisfying and fruitful user experience takes a lot of time and consistent, ongoing effort (read: improvements never stop). Here are seven simple web design tips to help you to improve performance and continue building a church website that people will enjoy using.

Make it Fast Loading

When was the last time you checked out your website’s design from your user’s point of view? You want your church website to be appealing and leave a good impression of your church with your visitors. You want people to enjoy using your website.

But a fast-loading, user-friendly website doesn’t just happen.

To start, people are impatient on Internet. They don’t like waiting for a website to load. So, it’s important to make adjustments that improve the load speed of your webpages in order to keep visitors from bouncing away from your website prematurely.

Web Design Tips & Tools for Boosting Website Speed:

10 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversion
by Kathryn Aragon at The Daily Egg

How to Speed Up WordPress
by Marcus Taylor at Smashing Magazine

Navigation Should Be Easy

Visitors must be able to find their way around your website quickly and easily.

Navigation should be consistent across all pages of the website. The labels you use should make sense to the user.

If a webpage is too long, trim away unnecessary content.

If it’s still too long, you can reduce scrolling by using bookmarks or anchor links to help visitors quickly navigate the page.

Web Design Tips & Tools for Navigation:

Website Navigation: Tips, Examples and Best Practices
by Cody Ray Miller at The Daily Egg

Nonprofit Website Navigation: Tips and Best Practices
by Alex McLain at WiredImpact

Shrink Your Images

On the Internet, image size affects loading speeds. Large image files make webpages load slower. Most professional Web designers optimize images by compressing them.

Before uploading an image to the server and using it on your website, you should optimize it to produce the smallest possible file.

Web Design Tips & Tools for Image Compression:

18 Image Compressor to Speed Up Your Website
by Grace Smith at Mashable

A Guide to Optimal Image Compression in WordPress
by Mark Forrester at WooThemes

Include “The Basics”

Now, you might think this one could go without saying. But, the number of church websites missing service times and/or a map and directions is mind-boggling!

Sure, you might be thinking, “Our street address is there. People can just plug it into Google Maps themselves and get directions.” Yup, that’s true.

But, consider this: these days, your first opportunity to treat guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way (1 Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2) isn’t when people arrive in the parking lot on Sunday morning.

That opportunity occurs when they arrive on your website.

Checking service times, and downloading a map and directions, are two of the top reasons why people (especially new visitors) will go to your website. Be kind to them.

If your website contains nothing else, make sure these details are present and easily seen.

Web Design Tips & Tools for Adding the Basics:

New Research Reveals Why People Visit Church Websites
by Jeremy Weber at Christianity Today

Adding Google Maps to Your Website Just Got Easier
at Google Developers Blog

Check Spelling and Grammar

Here’s another tip that’s too often overlooked. Content filled with grammar and spelling errors is distracting. It diverts your reader’s attention from your message. It hurts your effectiveness and reflects poorly on your ministry.

Web Design Tips & Tools for Spelling & Grammar:

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Best of The Best: 10 Online Grammar and Punctuation Checker Tools
by firstsiteguide

Text Must Be Easy to Read

While we are still on the subject, the text on your website must be easy to read. The color of the text must be in high contrast with your website’s background color.

The font size should be large enough to make it readable. Also, be sure to make use of whitespace, and break long paragraphs into chunks using section headings.

Web Design Tips for Readable Text:

How To Write So That People Will Read
by Brent Gummow at Jimdo Blog

How to Use Visual Hierarchy to Create Clear and Easy-to-Read Web Pages
by Pamela Wilson at copyblogger

Make Sure All Links Work

Broken links can give visitors the impression that your website isn’t regularly updated or properly maintained.

Broken links are also one of the quickest ways to make frustrated users bounce from your website.

You should regularly check older pages for broken links. Link checkers can make easy work of this task.

Web Design Tips & Tools for Checking Links:

How To Automatically Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress
by John Hughes at themeisle

How to Find and Fix Broken WordPress Links
by Kevin Muldoon at Elegant Themes

A Final Word: Consistency

This quick list barely scratches the surface of website maintenance tasks, improvements, optimizations and updates you should be completing on an ongoing basis.

Applying these seven tips regularly and consistently will improve your website’s performance and help create an user-friendly website people will enjoy returning to again and again.

Last Modified: Nov 9, 2018 @ 4:49 pm

 

Categories
Tools & Resources

I Love Subtle Patterns

[icon style=”calendar” color=”blue”]Last updated on Jul 7, 2015 @ 7:12 pm[/icon]

This site is my new favorite. I am always looking for nice, clean, high quality patterns for my designs. Subtle Patterns gives you the ability to test out a pattern before you download it. It is awesome and you should check them out.

Update 10/1/2013: Be sure to check out the “do’s and don’ts” for use on their FAQs page.

Subtle Patterns

Subtle Patterns

Image Credit: fuzzy jr. | flickr

Categories
Tools & Resources

13 Apps From My Digital Toolbox

I always enjoy when people share the tools they use everyday to do their jobs. Today I am sharing with you a few of my favorite apps from my digital toolbox. As a small business owner, designer, developer, and missionary these are all tools I use to get my work done. These are in no order, and the costs I listed are what I have paid, even though most of these have some free plans.

Categories
Tools & Resources

27 Online Tools For New Church Website Designers

It can be difficult if you are tossed into updating your church website and have no idea what you are doing. I want to provide you a few tools that will help you in your journey to becoming a web designer! Well, at least some tools that will help you keep your church website up to date and looking good! Please enjoy and if you have more tools that you use please, leave them in the comments!

Categories
Tools & Resources

23 Podcasting Tools for Churches

[icon style=”calendar” color=”blue”]Last Updated Jul 7, 2015 @ 5:54 pm[/icon]

A lot of the questions I have received over the last few weeks have been in regards to podcasting. Podcasting is a great tool we have today that allows pastors and churches to share sermons with their memebers directly from the church website. Also, users can subscribe to messages which will automaticlly download to their computer. Today I would like to share with you a list of 23 different tools you can use to create, share, or listen to podcasts! As always enjoy this list, and please add your own favorite tool if yours is not listed!

Categories
Tools & Resources

Find Powerful Images for Your Website

This is a follow up article to “Make Your Website Better“. I wanted to take a chance over the next few days to dive deeper into five areas that I feel that most church websites lack. Today I want to provide some resources for pastors and web designers out there who are interested in where exactly to get stock images to use for sermon series, worship slides, or just to help inspire ideas. These resources include some free image libraries and some paid or subscription based libraries